Deutsche Bank executives fired after visit to strip club


Deutsche Bank this week laid off four New York employees – including a number of senior executives – after a visit to a strip club was billed to the company, The Post has learned.

An attempt was then made to sweep the visit and the accompanying charges under the rug, a source familiar with the matter told the Post, leading to the firings.

A group of bankers – including head of equity capital markets Ben Darsney and managing director who ran most of the bank’s SPAC business, Ravi Raghunathan – took colleagues and a client to a strip club in February, sources told the Post. Neither Darsney nor Raghunathan returned multiple requests for comment from The Post.

Even going to a strip club with co-workers is a violation of company policy at the German lender. But worse for the bankers: management was only made aware of the incident after the costs related to the strip club were submitted as business expenses. It is unclear who submitted the expenses and who was allegedly involved in the attempt to conceal them.

The band didn’t get what they paid for: People familiar with the situation said strip club charges were less than $1,000.

Deutsche Bank executives billed the company for expenses at a strip club.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Although the expense was never approved or paid for by the bank, it prompted the bank to investigate the situation, sources close to them said. It could not be determined which strip club the financiers frequented.

“People who weren’t at this event were fired but lied and participated in the cover-up,” a source told the Post. “Everyone was very well regarded which made things difficult,” the source adds of Deutsche’s decision to fire the men.

However, the decision to fire the men — who were rainmakers in a lucrative division — underscores the bank’s commitment to a “new culture,” the source told the Post. “It was the right decision,” the source added. The Post could not determine the identities of the four men who were fired, but confirmed that they all worked for Deutsche. A source familiar with the matter said not all of the men who were sacked went to the club. It was also not possible to determine who was the customer who also frequented the strip club.

The layoffs come as Deutsche Bank has stepped up its compliance efforts.

strip club
People familiar with the situation said the strip club fee was less than $1,000.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“We’ve cleaned up our act 1000%,” the source familiar with the bank’s efforts told the Post. “The new management made a huge change, but when you have 5,000 employees, there will always be an idiot.”

The bank treats any situation where two or more employees are together as a corporate event – even if it’s out of the office or after hours, people told The Post. In recent years, the bank has also stepped up mandatory training for employees, sources told The Post.

“Deutsche Bank is thoroughly investigating allegations of possible misconduct in a comprehensive and impartial manner,” the bank said in a statement to the Post.

“We do not tolerate violations of our code of conduct or company policy and take appropriate corrective action based on the seriousness of the circumstances. The Bank declines to comment further on the circumstances of this particular case.

Deutsche Bank has also struggled to enforce an SEC rule that requires all business communications to occur on work devices, a person familiar with the situation told The Post. This person adds that at least one of the dismissed bankers had violated the bank’s communication policy in the past few months.

The news comes as Deutsche appears to be on the other side of a massive restructuring effort in which 18,000 people have been made redundant after years of regulatory issues and disappointing results. The bank has recorded two consecutive years of profits – and last year the bank had its most profitable year in a decade.

Meanwhile, people who worked with Darsney and Raghunathan say they are sad to see the men go. They emphasize that they were “good guys”.


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